Bloodchild and other stories

I’m a huge fan of Octavia Butler and have had Bloodchild sitting on my shelf for a while and finally read it last week. It’s fantastic. The right mix of short stories with a few essays thrown in as well. And if you like her writing at all, you’ll enjoy these stories.

I’ll admit that two stories stuck me and I’m still thinking about them, “Speech Sounds” and “The Book of Martha.” In the former the main character is trying to survive in a world where no one can speak, or so it seems, due to a strange illness. Chaos has descended on the LA area, with no society completely breaking down. Rye is fighting to find her family and in the end she somehow finds a new family. In the latter a woman is trying to decide what would be best to make the world a better place, it’s looking for utopia, which Butler admits isn’t her favorite subject. Through the discussion between Martha and God I started to think about how I would try to make the world better and it made me think of the biblical story of Martha.

If you’re a fan of her Xenogensis series, there are stories in here for you as well. Butler’s way of imagining the relationship between humans and aliens fascinates me and “Bloodchild” is another example of that. These stories were quick reads and got me thinking, which is what her work always does; I’m grateful for it.